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On the Fringes of Literature and Digital Media Culture

Perspectives from Eastern and Western Europe

Series:

Edited by Irena Barbara Kalla, Patrycja Poniatowska and Dorota Michułka

On the Fringes of Literature and Digital Media Culture offers a polyphonic account of mutual interpenetrations of literature and new media. Shifting its focus from the personal to the communal and back again, the volume addresses such individual experiences as immersion and emotional reading, offers insights into collective processes of commercialisation and consumption of new media products and explores the experience and mechanisms of interactivity, convergence culture and participatory culture. Crucially, the volume also shows convincingly that, though without doubt global, digital culture and new media have their varied, specifically local facets and manifestations shaped by national contingencies. The interplay of the common subtext and local colour is discussed by the contributors from Eastern Europe and the Western world.

Contributors are: Justyna Fruzińska, Dirk de Geest, Maciej Jakubowiak, Michael Joyce, Kinga Kasperek, Barbara Kaszowska-Wandor, Aleksandra Małecka, Piotr Marecki, Łukasz Mirocha, Aleksandra Mochocka, Emilya Ohar, Mariusz Pisarski, Anna Ślósarz, Dawn Stobbart, Jean Webb, Indrė Žakevičienė, Agata Zarzycka.

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Emilia Ohar

Abstract

The chapter discusses the children’s new media, especially the children’s e-book, drawing extensively on the example of Ukrainian experience. It describes the pre-conditions of the dissemination of new media and communication technologies in Ukraine, and outlines perspectives for the development of such media of children’s literature in terms of publishing factors and broad cultural aspects, in particular the culture of consumption of e-books by young Ukrainians and their parents. These issues are addressed in the context of interaction of traditional book culture and new digital culture.

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Agata Zarzycka

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to analyze various contemporary appropriations of the figure of Edgar Alan Poe in order to reflect upon the multivocality and complexity of the discursive environment generated by convergence culture. Poe as a cult figure wanders from the realm of canonic literature to subcultural Gothic aesthetics and pop cultural appropriations, to the sphere of participatory practices culminating in the Internet-supported nerdcore movement. Thus, the literary origin of Poe’s popularity is recontextualized in a flexible network of audience-based phenomena, which exemplifies productive exchange between mainstream media and cultural niches. In the process of such exchange, the realm of convergence plays with the cultural significance of literature, which becomes not so much a final confirmation of as rather a precondition for the expansion and diversification of the Poe icon’s cultural relevance.

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Edited by Irena Barbara Kalla, Patrycja Poniatowska and Dorota Michułka

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Mariusz Pisarski

Abstract

In the age of ubiquitous computing, virtualization of space, and the notion of the human body as an ultimate interface, reaching out for a printed book and starting a traditional act of reading becomes almost a gesture of resistance. Between a solitary pleasure of reading a book in an armchair and a super-fast stream of visual forms we see on a plethora of screens that surround us, there is an in-between zone populated by narrative forms that either strive for their own identity or deliberately try to erase it in order to remain a hybrid of cultural expressions. These tendencies are exemplified in the works of Michael Joyce and Zuzana Husárová. Although of different generations and aesthetics, they both share a strong common trait of revealing archetypes of literary communication in a hybrid, post-medial landscape. Drawing on Michael Joyce’s experiment with augmented reality applications and on Zuzana Husárová’s poetic installations, where verbal elements are engaged in a feedback loop with body movement in space, I will look for an antidote against marginalization of literature by other media formats. Perhaps, it may be found in the liminal areas of literary niches and in the world of children literature.

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Aleksandra Mochocka

Abstract

The chapter discusses The Witcher Adventure Game, a part of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt marketing campaign, in the context of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fiction and cd Project Red video games. Specific features defining the Witcher universe are inscribed in Sapkowski’s texts. The video games successfully transmediate these constitutive elements. The board game exists in a triangular relationship with the literary texts and the digital game, and utilises the concept of the witcher as a profession along with other elements, such as humour, anachronisms and intertextual allusions. However, a crucial feature is missing in twag, making it significantly different from the video games, as the choices made by the players fail to carry any morally significant consequences.